Professional Development Meetings

This one-hour meeting has the following framework: brief updates and an introduction from one of our NECI steering committee members (5 minutes), a featured speaker sharing about climate change science, research, and/or communication for Extension educators (40 minutes), and a question/answer and discussion session (15 minutes). This meeting is on the first Wednesday of the month at 3:00 pm ET.


June 1, 2022
Featured Speaker/Topic
We Need an Epidemic of Climate Action to
Reach a Social Tipping Point for Change
The majority of Americans accept the reality of climate change and support policies that reduce emissions.  Even so, we are falling way behind on the implementation of climate actions that will hold global temperature increase to 1.5oC.  History reveals that social pressure is often required for change, as illustrated by the suffragist movement and the struggle for civil rights.  Recent models suggest that social interventions can provide the “activation energy” needed to overcome a recalcitrant status quo on climate and incorporating social feedbacks into climate models makes acceptable outcomes more likely.  If we think about social change in epidemiological terms, it becomes clear that change is an exponential process driven by the “transmission rate” of ideas and motivation for action.  Models of behavioral change and recent work in climate change communication suggest tactics that may increase the “transmissibility” of climate motivation and accelerate our arrival at the all-important social tipping point. 
Dr. Sara Via received her PhD from Duke University and did postdoctoral work in evolutionary genetics at the University of Chicago.  She held faculty positions at the University of Iowa and Cornell University before moving to the University of Maryland as Professor of Biology in 1997.  After a 35-year research career, Sara began teaching Marylanders about climate change impacts and solutions through the University of Maryland Extension in 2014.  Since then, Sara has given hundreds of talks to community groups and many webinars on various topics in climate change and sustainability (see www.climatecorner.org for links to the videos).  Sara also teaches in the Howard County Public School System’s Climate Change Institute for 10th graders


Previous Meetings

May 4, 2022 (Watch the video below and see the meeting chat here.)
Featured Speaker/Topic
Join Dr. Zachary Goff-Eldredge, from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, discussing agrivoltaics. Dr. Eldredge is a Technology Manager for the Strategic Analysis and Institutional Support Team, joining the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office in June 2019. His projects are focused on finding innovative ways to manage land-use of solar energy, including innovative siting solutions such as combining solar energy and agricultural production. In collaboration with National Laboratories and SETO’s sister offices in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Zach works to improve models that are important in understanding the growth and operation of solar energy and to conduct and assist in analysis relating to decarbonization of the electric grid and wider energy system.

April 6, 2022 (Watch the video below and see the meeting chat here.)
Featured Speaker/Topic
Join an interactive panel of today’s climate changemakers.
Holly Abeels, University of Florida Sea Grant and County Extension Agent, will share about her Climate Smart Floridians Extension program.
Maureen McCarthy, Project Director of Native Waters on Arid Lands (NWAL) and the Desert Research Institute, will share about the NWAL programming and their USDA NIFA-Hub climate project entitled, Native Climate: Strengthening the role of Climate Hubs in Indian Country.
Patricia Townsend, Washington State Natural Resources Extension Specialist, will share about her NSF Extension project entitled, Climate Change Community Programs and Opportunities (C3PO).

March 2, 2022 (Watch the video below and see the meeting chat here.)
Featured Speaker/Topic
Join Tonya Graham, Executive Director, and Kim Adams, Organization and Strategy Analyst, from the Geos Institute for this month’s meeting. Additionally, Tonya is a City Councilor for the City of Ashland, Oregon. They will discuss Tonya’s soon to be finalized proposal, “Climate Ready America: How the U.S. can meet its climate goals by developing a nationwide system of climate resilience support services for local leaders.” This proposal is a big-picture, conceptual piece for mobilizing and supporting local and regional mitigation and adaptation efforts within a coordinated framework. It highlights what are considered to be highly Extension-compatible strategies like directly supporting community action, promoting best practices and regularly updating information and processes, and providing consistency and measuring outcomes.

February 2, 2022 (Watch the video below and see the meeting chat here.)
Featured Speaker/Topic
Mr. Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper, will discuss how to Support Climate and Environmental Action with Marginalized Communities. Mr. Tutman is a journalist, lawyer, farmer, community organizer, and expert in environmental injustice. In 2004 he founded Patuxent Riverkeeper based in Upper Marlboro Maryland where Fred was born and raised, as were seven generations of his ancestors. “When you say the words ‘environmental justice’ most people think you are talking only about Black folks or people of color. We see it in a much more expansive sense. These are usually David and Goliath class-based fights where people with far less power are largely fighting people with an exorbitant amount of power and money. You don’t find many rich white communities fighting off coal-fired power plants or factory farms or sewage discharges. Those, frankly, are placed where there is less money and less power, and the two seem to go together.”

December 2, 2021 (Watch the video below and see the meeting chat here.)
Featured Speaker/Topic
Dr. Mike Hoffmann, will give a presentation based on his new book, Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need, and the companion website. Written by Hoffmann and Carrie Koplinka-Loehr and Danielle L. Eiseman, the authors “offer an eye-opening journey through a complete menu of before-dinner drinks and salads; main courses and sides; and coffee and dessert. Our Changing Menu is a celebration of food and a call to action―encouraging readers to join with others from the common ground of food to help tackle the greatest challenge of our time. Their story is rounded out with a primer on the global food system, the causes and impacts of climate change, and what we can all do.” Dr. Hoffmann is Professor Emeritus, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and fellow at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. Hoffmann dedicates all of his time to the grand challenge of climate change and helps people understand and appreciate what is happening through food. Melting glaciers are bad enough but the loss of coffee is downright terrifying.
The book is available from several outlets including Amazon and Cornell University Press. Dr. Hoffmann has provided a discount code for NECI Members and their associates. If ordering from Cornell Press, this promo code gives the purchaser a 33% discount. The promo code is – 09SAVE.
Come prepared to consider how we can start a climate change social movement using food – we all eat.

November 4, 2021 (Watch the video below and see the meeting chat here.)
Featured Speaker/Topic
In the new book, Climate Stewardship: Taking Collective Action to Protect California, our presenter, Dr. Adina Merenlender (UCANR and UC Berkeley), provides stories of community-scale climate action from everyday people. The climate science underpinning these actions is woven throughout the stories, making it easy for people to learn about climate change without losing hope. “It’s science in a narrative form to share what can be done on the ground,” explains author Dr. Merenlender, an internationally recognized conservation biologist. Merenlender explores how communities are addressing wildfires, drier deserts, wetland restoration, climate-wise farming, climate justice, urban heat islands, and ocean temperature rise to make natural, working, and urban landscapes more resilient.

October 7, 2021 (Watch the video below and see the meeting chat here.)
Featured Speaker/Topic
The North Central Climate Collaborative (NC3) will discuss how they have successfully launched a regional collaboration of Extension professionals to provide a foundation for lasting climate education. Two NC3 state representatives will be sharing: Hans Schmitz is the Posey County Extension Director & Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator at Purdue University, Indiana and Aaron B. Wilson is an Atmospheric Scientist at The Ohio State University, with a joint appointment as an Extension climate specialist and Research Scientist at the Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center.

September 2, 2021 (Watch the video below and see the meeting chat here.)
Featured Speaker/Topic
Trained as a physicist, Dr. Rob Davies’ work focuses on complexity, global change, human vibrancy, and critical science communication.  Rob has delivered hundreds of public lectures ― to policymakers, business leaders, civic organizations and faith communities ― and his “performance science” theatrical collaboration The Crossroads Project | Rising Tide, co-created with the Fry Street Quartet, has been performed across the U.S. and in three countries.  He has served as a scientific liaison for NASA; as a project scientist with Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory; and an officer and meteorologist in the United States Air Force.  Dr. Davies has served on the faculty of three universities, is a past Associate of the Utah Climate Center, and is currently Associate Professor of Professional Practice with Utah State University, where he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Physics, USU’s Ecology Center, and the Caine College of the Arts.
In the words of Winston Churchill, “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences…”  From this moment forward our nation, indeed all nations, will be engaged in a full court press to halt further disruptions to Earth’s climate system as rapidly as possible.  We need messengers.  With its reach into every one of our nation’s 3,031 counties, Extension is poised to play an outsize role in moving us to the “all hands on deck” posture that we must achieve.  To fill this role for their clients, extension professionals need a firm grasp of the challenge; the scale of risk, the scale of response, and the context into which all of this fits.  This will be our topic.  I’ll discuss how I approach this story, and get all of you thinking about the narratives you will develop to engage your communities.

August 4, 2021
This meeting has been cancelled; the featured speaker/topic will be rescheduled.

July 1, 2021
Featured Speaker/Topic
Robert E. Kopp, Ph.D., Director, Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences; Co-Director, Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience Initiative, Rutgers University

June 3, 2021
Featured Speaker/Topic
Georgia Basso, National Lead and Julian Reyes, National Coordinator, USDA Climate Hubs

May 6, 2021
Featured Speaker/Topic
Climate Change in Extension: Evaluating and Amplifying Action outcomes

April 1, 2021
Featured Speaker/Topic
Climate Change in Extension: Evaluating and Amplifying Action event planning

March 4, 2021
Featured Speaker/Topic
Patricia Townsend
, Natural Resources Regional Extension Specialist, and Heather Teegarden, Sustainable Community Steward, Washington State University, “City of Shoreline Climate Champions Series”

February 4, 2021
Featured Speaker/Topic
NECI Strategic Planning

January 7, 2021
Featured Speaker/Topic
NECI Strategic Planning

December 10, 2020
Featured Speaker/Topic
NECI Strategic Planning

November 5, 2020
Featured Speaker/Topic
NECI Strategic Planning

October 8, 2020
Featured Speaker/Topic
NECI Strategic Planning

September 10, 2020
Featured Speaker/Topic  
Collin Adkins, Environment & Energy Resource Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension “Community Energy Engagement Program” (starts at: 11:40)

August 6, 2020
Featured Speaker/Topic
Allison Morrill Chatrchyan, Senior Research Associate, Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Depts. of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences & Global Development, “Overview of Cornell’s Climate Smart Solutions Program and Cornell Climate Smart Farming Program”
Sabrina Drill, David Kay, Susan Kocher, “CONVERGE Working Group priorities: Natural hazards and the pandemic”

July 9, 2020
Featured Speaker/Topic
David Kay, “Land Use Implications of Large Scale Solar Development”

June 4, 2020
Featured Speaker/Topic
John Cobourn, (Water Resource Specialist, Emeritus, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension), Caiti Steele (Coordinator and Deputy Director of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub) and Ros McCann (Utah State University), prior work from 2016 Southwest Extension Climate Workshop, co-sponsored by the Southwest Regional Climate Hub and application to NECI
Sara Via, Professor and Climate Extension Specialist, University of Maryland Extension, “Climate and Sustainability Webinar Series,” http://blog.umd.edu/climatecorner/author/climatecorner/) and the EnROADS Climate Change Solutions Simulator training.   
Rachel Steele, National Program Leader, Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems, USDA Agricultural Research Service, “USDA Climate Hubs and Extension: A Growing Partnership Opportunity” 
Amulya Rao, Evaluation Specialist, UW-Madison Division of Extension Natural Resources Institute, “Ongoing climate change-related efforts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension
Paul Lachapelle, “Overview of Climate Smart Montana and 4-H Climate Curriculum
Natalie Carroll, Professor, Purdue University, “Youth Weather and Climate Curricula Overview

May 7, 2020
Featured Speaker/Topic
Chris Jones, University of Arizona, and Melissa Kreye, Penn State, Extension Leadership and COVID-19     
Sabrina Drill, UC Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County, and Amber Gray, UW–Madison, communications platforms for our NECI group (MS Teams, etc.)    
Paul Lachapelle, Montana State University, recent conversations regarding partnerships/opportunities with JCEP, eXtension and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant    
Katie Ann Callahan, Director, Clemson University Center for Watershed Excellence, Clemson University, ”Citizen science monitoring program in freshwater and saltwater and how we are including impacts of climate change”      
Amulya Rao, Evaluation Specialist, UW-Madison Division of Extension Natural Resources Institute “Highlights about UW Extension’s climate change programming”     
Paul Monaghan, Associate Professor, Extension Specialist in Community-Based Social Marketing, Center for Land Use Efficiency, University of Florida, “A warming climate and the prevention of heat related illness among farmworkers in Florida”    
Eric Norland, NIFA National Science Liaison, Environment and Natural Resources “Update: Climate Change and USDA.”

April 2, 2020
Featured Speaker/Topic
Peter Barcinas, Extension Agent III/Assistant Professor, Economic and Community Systems, University of Guam, “Climate change collaboration work we are doing with Extension and GovGuam and Federal agencies”      
Sabrina Drill, Natural Resources Advisor, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, University of California Cooperative Extension, “Connecting communities to build climate resilience: Climate programming in California and the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN)”                                          
Sherrie Gruder, Sustainable Design Specialist and Energy Program Manager, UW-Madison Division of Extension, “Wisconsin Extension’s Climate Leadership Team”                   
Tyler Williams, Ag Climate and Weather Extension Educator, University of Nebraska Extension, “Weather Ready Nebraska,” https://weather-ready.unl.edu/

March 5, 2020